How countries plan to achieve result-driven zero emissions by 2050

How countries plan to achieve result-driven zero emissions by 2050

More than 40 countries that have subscribed to the 2015 Paris Agreement have mooted a plan to scale down dangerous gas emissions to zero by 2050 as well as limiting the rise in global temperature by 1.5 °C. 

In a report titled Net Zero by 2050: A roadmap for the global energy system, the International Energy Agency (IEA) captures the seven key tenets which the member countries brainstormed at the IEA‐ COP26 Net Zero Summit held in March 2021, and agreed to implement to realise the gains in reversing climate change.

This comes ahead of the 26th  Conference of the  Parties  (COP26)  of the United Nations Framework  Convention on  Climate Change, slated for November 2021, which will provide more roadmap for the implementation of the climate change policies.

IEA notes in the special report that there is urgent need to revamp the energy sector because it is the most implicated when it comes to listing the contributors of the climate change.

The Executive Director of IEA Dr Fatih Birol notes in the special report that stakeholders of the agreement must now distinguish rhetoric from walking the talk.

‘‘The number of countries that have pledged to reach net zero emissions by mid‐century or soon after continues to grow-but so do global greenhouse gas emissions. This gap between rhetoric and action needs to close if we are to have a fighting  chance of reaching net zero by 2050 and limiting the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 °C,’’ Dr Birol notes.

Pledging support to various governments in their bid to design roadmap to compliance with policies on scaling down emissions, the IEA boss indicates that it will advocate for non-standardised approach in implementing the roadmaps. Preferably, it would like a scenario where developed economies lead the path and provide the benchmarks for other yet to be developed countries.

He said, ‘‘the pathway laid out in our roadmap is global in scope, but each country will need to design its own strategy, taking into account its specific circumstances. There is no one‐size‐fits‐all approach to clean energy transitions. 

‘‘Plans  need  to  reflect  countries’  differing  stages  of  economic  development:  in  our  pathway,  advanced economies  reach  net  zero  before  developing economies do.’’

Mooted approaches

The agency touches on various approaches that countries could employ to scale down the emissions and achieve a green economy as well as create jobs. Firstly, the report states that the global solar and wind energy production need to increase four-fold by the year 2030.

Also, the ownership of electric cars must increase from less than 10 million to over 50 million within the same period. This will lead to the decrease in the energy intensity by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 4 per cent within the same period. Further, there is an advocacy for encouraging the behavoural approaches such as cycling, walking or using public transport to limit the number of cars and reduce the resultant carbon gas emissions.

According to IEA, there is need for major innovations to help in scaling down the emissions. Nonetheless, most of these inventions are already in existence pending utilisations.

‘‘…almost half the reductions come from technologies that are currently at the demonstration or prototype phase. In heavy industry and long‐distance transport, the share of emissions reductions from technologies that are still under development today is even higher,’’ it states.

As the world phases out technologies that are costly in terms of environmental-friendliness, the IEA contemplates that massive investment to the tune of ‘‘USD 90 billion of public money needs to be mobilised globally as soon as possible  to complete a portfolio of demonstration projects before 2030.’’


According to the IEA, there will be incentives attached to the transition to clean energy. For instance, 785 million people in the globe will have access to electricity and additional 2.6 billion people will have access clean cooking solutions by 2030. This will cost countries around USD$40 billion per year in rolling out the clean energy generation sources.

In the bid to effect structural changes in phasing out the use of fossil fuels, the report indicates that atleast five million jobs will be lost. But this will be covered by the creation of new jobs in the energy sector

‘‘The transition to net zero brings substantial new opportunities for employment, with 14 million jobs created by 2030 in our pathway thanks to new activities and investment in clean energy.

‘‘Spending on more efficient appliances, electric and fuel cell vehicles, and building  retrofits  and energy‐efficient  construction  would  require  a  further  16 million workers,’’ the report notes.

The economic benefits are expected to trickle down and cushion the global economy after the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘‘The jump in private and government spending creates millions of jobs in clean energy, including energy efficiency, as well as in the engineering, manufacturing and construction industries.

‘‘All of this puts global GDP 4 per cent higher in 2030 than it would be based on current trends,’’ the report reads.